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Statement by Walton Brown MP

If the OBA believes that OBA candidates pocketing government contracts don't have to be open and transparent about it, they should just say so.


The OBA continues to deflect and distract from the growing evidence that they believe in two Bermudas: One where they can break the rules, bend the truth and break promises without remorse and another Bermuda for the rest of us.

Parliamentary Joint Select Committees are drawn from members of both parties. In this instance it included OBA MPs Jeanne Atherden, Glen Smith and Susan Jackson.

The purpose of Parliamentary Joint Select Committees is to have members work across party lines without fear or favor for the good of the country.  Unfortunately the OBA doesn't believe the rules apply to them.

If the OBA believes that OBA candidates pocketing government contracts don't have to be open and transparent about it, they should just say so. Divisive attempts to deflect from the good work of this committee are a distraction from them getting on with the business of getting Bermudians employed.

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PLP Alarmed at Reduction in Seniors' Health Benefits

Seniors from age 65-74 will be cut by 10 percent to 70 percent and those over 75 by 10 percent to 80 percent.

"We at the Progressive Labour Party are very concerned by the remarks in the House of Assembly yesterday from Health Minister Trevor Moniz that the Standard Health Benefit will be reduced causing even further cuts  to Seniors.  Seniors from age 65-74 will be cut by 10 percent to 70 percent and those over 75 by 10 percent to 80 percent. 
These type of cuts are affecting a segment of society that is often the most vulnerable financially.  These are the people who have spent most of their life paying into government systems and working to build the infrastructure of our island. Prior to the Budget, we appealed to the OBA government to not make the Seniors the scapegoats.  It appears that they have done just that. 
To make matters worse, seniors were given no increase in pension payments, which makes it now four consecutive years that they have had no increase. Fortunately, the Progressive Labour Party government had made it our mission to vastly increase their pension payouts in the early part of this century in order to make pensions somewhat respectable and to provide some financial security for our seniors.
We ask that Minister Moniz, Minister Richards and the OBA Cabinet have a meeting of the minds on this and a rethink of the reduction of this benefit.  Surely, cost savings could be obtained in a variety of other ways.  We have heard of the excessive travel costs of Premier Cannonier.  We know about the heavily salaried political advisors working for Premier Cannonier.  
We find it very hard to rationalize cutting the benefits to Bermuda's seniors while others are showing little to no sacrifice in this economic climate."
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Statement by PLP Leader Marc Bean: The Premier Can't Hide From Questions Forever.

It is clear by his actions that Premier Cannonier has no regard for the rules of the House of Assembly, the rulings of the Speaker, and by extension the people of Bermuda.

This morning, in the House of Assembly, Premier Cannonier was asked the following questions:

  1. Will the Honourable Premier please inform this Honourable House if he and any of the Principals of Landow & CO. Builders (Bethesda, MD) have met, spoken via telephone, or corresponded via email, since his Personal Explanation given to this Honourable House on May 31, 2013. 
  2. Will the Honourable Premier please confirm to this Honourable House if the “Exchange of Information” trip to Washington DC, detailed in his Personal Explanation of May 31, 2013, was the first time the Honourable Premier had met any of the Principals of Landow & CO. Builders (Bethesda, MD). 


After being directed by the Speaker of the House to answer these questions Yes or No, Premier Cannonier refused to do so, under the grounds of refusing to prejudice himself.

This is not accountability, transparency, or openness. It is cowardice, arrogance, and contempt for the people of Bermuda at the highest level. 

The Premier may fear incriminating himself, but no matter how much he attempts to hide the truth it will inevitably be revealed.

 

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PLP Reply to the 2014 Budget

Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt, delivered the PLP's reply to the 2014/15 Budget in Parliament on Friday, February 28. Read the full response here.

Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt, delivered the PLP's reply to the 2014/15 Budget in Parliament on Friday, February 28. In that response he outlined the PLP's alternate budget proposal that would make signifigant investments in education, training, and alternative energy. He also laid of the PLP's ideas for diversifying the economy, creating addtional jobs in Bermuda, and reforming immigration.

The full document is available for download here. If you have feedback, MP David Burt can be contacted on dburt@plp.bm

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Statement by Shadow Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert

The contradiction between Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell' s account of the events surrounding JetGate and the claims made by the Premier have created more questions than answers about the Premier's relationship with the investor Nathan Landow, 

Statement by Shadow Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert 

The contradiction between Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell' s account of the events surrounding JetGate and the claims made by the Premier have created more questions than answers about the Premier's relationship with the investor Nathan Landow, and the reason for the divergent accounts.

The Premier was not upfront with the people of Bermuda about the junket taken by he and his colleagues in violation of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.  Were it not for this story being leaked by an OBA insider, the public might never have known that this dubious action was taken by key members of the OBA government.

The Premier was not upfront with the people of Bermuda when, once the JetGate 3 were caught violating the Ministerial Code yet  he failed to reveal that the business manager of his private enterprise was also on that private jet.

The Premier's claims that his business manager was simply, "bumming a lift," have now been contradicted by the Premier's own Tourism Minister who claimed last week on Magic 102.7's The Sherri Simmons Show that the Premier's business manager not only attended the secret meetings with the developer but also made presentations at the meetings.  

This chain of events paints a very disturbing picture of a Premier, who prior to the December 2012 election, preached transparency, openness and accountability, yet now seems more focused on cover-ups and potentially making backroom deals than in being honest with the people of Bermuda.  

In the interest of transparency, openness and accountability, we call on Premier Cannonier to come clean with the details surrounding this entire trip and to be accountable to the people for he and his Minister's actions.

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PLP Stands Strong Behind Leader Marc Bean and MP David Burt

The Premier has gone on record stating that his business manager, Mr. Stephen Dacosta, was only “bumming a ride” with him when he, along with Ministers Crockwell and Pettingill traveled to Washington DC last year.

We in the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party are standing strong for our Leader , the Hon. Marc Bean and the Shadow Minister of Finance, David Burt and we are here today to show our collective support for them.


We were extremely disturbed that during the Motion to Adjourn in the House of Parliament, on Friday, December 13, 2013, Premier Craig Cannonier and Minister Shawn Crockwell and Attorney General Mark Pettingill leveled serious allegations on our leader regarding a telephone conversation that was held between the Opposition Leader and the Premier.


Needless to say, we found it unacceptable that such allegations would be leveled at a time when the Opposition leader was not in the chamber as he was attending to family matters.


It is our opinion that Parliamentary protocol requires that accusations such as those made by the Premier should have waited until our Leader was present in Parliament, to look his accusers in the face and provide his own response.


We therefore believe that our Leader had no choice but to respond to those allegations in a parliamentary “Personal Explanation” as his reputation was sullied when those three Honorable Members alleged that the Opposition leader threatened to undermine the referendum on gaming.


Moreover, our faith in the integrity of our Parliament was severely tested when Minister Crockwell and AG Pettingill taunted that they overhead the telephone conversation between the Premier and the Opposition Leader, as the Premier admitted to sharing this conversation with his Ministers via speakerphone, without the decency of informing the Opposition Leader of this circumstance.


These actions were conducted in bad faith and reflect the character of the individuals involved.


We consider the actions of the Premier and his colleagues to be a willful intent to solidify their political position through deceit.


We further consider the assertion offered by the Shadow Finance Minister, David Burt, that the Premier offered IT consulting work on the absentee balloting system to his private IT company with the money saved from abandoning the referendum equally disturbing. The Premier admitted on February 14 to having discussed absentee balloting in the meeting that he had with MP Burt on December 10, 2013.


Why would the Premier need to discuss this matter with MP Burt when he has the entire Government IT Department at his disposal.


The Premier’s deflections do not add up! I have always found MP Burt to be a man of integrity and I am confident that my Parliamentary colleagues agree.


As I stated in Parliament on Friday, February 14, 2014, Premier Cannonier also asked to meet with me on December 11, and during that meeting he suggested to me that I use my influence to convince the PLP Caucus to support the OBA effort to bypass the referendum process.


Needless to say, I informed the Premier that he should be having that conversation with the Leader of the Opposition, not the Deputy Leader.


The Premier also denied the meeting ever took place and said that “I had no need to call any of the opposition members for anything”.


The Premier has gone on record stating that his business manager, Mr. Stephen Dacosta, was only “bumming a ride” with him when he, along with Ministers Crockwell and Pettingill traveled to Washington DC last year.


However, yesterday on the Sherri Simmons talk show, Minister Crockwell told the public that Mr. Dacosta was there because of his “expertise” on golf, and he also revealed that Mr. DaCosta was an active participant in the official exchange of information meetings.


There are now two conflicting versions of what happened in Washington DC, one by the Premier and one in contradiction by Minister Crockwell.


We would like to make it very clear; our members will not be silenced by legal threats or any legal action in order to suppress the truth.


And the Premier cannot hide behind legal threats as his own version of events has been challenged by his own Cabinet Minister.


Ultimately, Bermudians must decide who spoke the truth, as the integrity of our whole system of governance is being tested in a manner that this country has never witnessed before.


The truth must prevail and the Premier must stop ducking the questions and reveal to the country the nature of his relationship with Mr. Nathan Landow.


Any potential development is far too important to the future of this country.


We need jobs for our people and the Premier is putting this at risk by his refusal to speak to a relationship with a potential developer.


There is an RFP process underway, and improper contact can derail this process and delay any development.


Our country cannot afford that outcome and that is why it is important for the Premier to explain the nature of his relationship with Mr. Nathan Landow.

 

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PLP Calls on Premier to Come Clean on Ties to Developer

Premier Craig Cannonier’s deafening silence in response to the serious allegations made against him is very troubling. If the Premier has nothing to hide, he should then immediately come clean with the full and complete nature of his relationship, and the relationship of his private business partner, with Mr. Nathan Landow.

Premier Craig Cannonier’s deafening silence in response to the serious allegations made against him is very troubling. If the Premier has nothing to hide, he should then immediately come clean with the full and complete nature of his relationship, and the relationship of his private business partner, with Mr. Nathan Landow.

The Premier's continued refusal to reveal the nature of his relationship to this potential casino developer is eroding investor confidence in Bermuda. This issue is important, because for investors to have confidence in Bermuda they must have confidence that the Government is ethical and forthright in their dealings. The government must be an honest broker if not Bermudians will lose as investors, not just in hotels – but in other industries, will stay away.

Bermuda’s economic situation is too delicate for our future to be put at risk by members of the government seeking to profit from any new Integrated Resort Development.

 If the process is tainted, then any potential development can be derailed by lengthy legal challenges – and that mean that ALL Bermudians, PLP and OBA will be the losers.

The PLP will continue to press for answers to legitimate questions to ensure that the people's business in being conducted in an ethical manner that will benefit all Bermudians and will not put our future at risk. The Premier, Attorney General, and Minister of Tourism must come clean to ensure that Bermuda’s reputation remains intact.

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Statement by Shadow Finance Minister David Burt

This behaviour is a manifestation of the anti-Bermudian and anti-labour attitudes that continue to divide us into two Bermudas.  

During the labour march yesterday, the behavior of Ms. Joanne McPhee, Executive Director of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, was highly unacceptable.  It has no place in a diverse and civil society where we must have respect for the right of workers to organize and participate in peaceful protest.  

This behaviour is a manifestation of the anti-Bermudian and anti-labour attitudes that continue to divide us into two Bermudas.  Healing this divide requires concrete action not apologies after being caught. As a former director of the Chamber of Commerce I am appalled that the Executive Director of an organisation that claims to be politically neutral would incite Bermudians engaged in a peaceful march in support of worker's rights. 

The leadership of the Chamber of Commerce has an opportunity to send a strong message to Bermudians that there is zero tolerance for this behavior from within their ranks.  We call on the members of the Chamber of Commerce to make their feelings known about this reprehensible behavior to their President Mr. Ronnie Viera.  We expect that the majority of members of the Chamber will require that she resign or their President take the appropriate and required action to deal with this unfortunate situation.

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Statement by Acting PLP Leader Derrick Burgess

With his inexperience, and lack of political maturity, one can easily expect or excuse the Premier's breakdown in the House of Assembly. 

The words spoken by the Premier in the House of Assembly, on Saturday December 14, 2013 were the words of a man obviously under a great deal of pressure. It could appear as if he is seemingly crumbling under the weight of that pressure.

With his inexperience, and lack of political maturity, one can easily expect or excuse the Premier's breakdown in the House of Assembly. Yet we shouldn't expect or excuse the use of threatening and dangerous words.

With Statements such as;

“No one’s gotten any one brother, but if you want to be gotten and I
could let it happen for sure. For sure, for sure.”

“As I said before, the Premier of this country, I’m privy to a lot.
So, just hold it, okay.”

It appears as if the Premier is now endorsing the politics of personal destruction and political payback. Threatening to use his privileged position to damage reputations and ruin livelihoods. Forgetting the old adage that people in glass houses, should not throw stones.

This seems to hearken back to the days of the UBP. When persons who expressed views that differed from them suffered;

Sudden job loss
Business contracts cancelled
Home mortgages pulled.

We encourage the Premier to start conducting himself in a more statesman like manner. He must learn to focus on issues, not individuals. We would like to remind him that our constitution and
democracy does not give way to a “One party mentality.”

It is vital that every citizen of this nation is allowed to express themselves without fear of “Big Brother” watching them or threatening them. These “dictator and bully” like statements have been read and heard globally. Coupled with revoking Bermudian’s right to a referendum, this will no doubt cast the image of Bermudian democracy in a negative light.

Many Bermudians are rightfully concerned.

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Statement by PLP Leader Marc Bean on the Passing of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was a leader, a freedom fighter, an African and an inspiration to us all.

Statement by PLP Leader Marc Bean on the Passing of Nelson Mandela

The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party joins with people across the globe in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela. His commitment to freedom, justice and equality as well as his resolute determination to build one South African people out of the ashes of Apartheid, will be an inspiration for generations to come.

On behalf of the Bermuda Progresive Labour Party, I extend condolences to the family of Nelson Mandela. Those who have known and loved him most, have borne the heaviest burden and have sacrificed much to support the work of this great man. Over the years he was falsely reviled as a terrorist, unjustly imprisoned on Robben Island, elected President of a free South Africa and became a global figure of honour and integrity. His family's sacrifice and support of this icon, allowed not just South Africa, but the world to benefit, grow and progress.

Nelson Mandela was a leader, a freedom fighter, an African and an inspiration to us all. The Father of his nation has become a father to EVERYONE who believes in a world with opportunity for all and special privilege for none.

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